I’ve been reading these stories for the past few months, despite the fact that I rarely involve myself in social situations where etiquette-related issues may occur (though I guess that might indicate that I’m quite rude myself, but I digress), so I never really expected to be submitting anything here.
Several months ago, I moved to Beijing to work with a company that brings native English speakers to other countries to teach English. The company always brings in new teachers in “batches” of ten to twenty. Someteen foreigners, with varying levels of Chinese, and two weeks to find apartments (and roommates), figure out how to get around, go through training, etc…it’s a unique situation that basically forces bonding, so even though we all ended up at different schools around the city, it still seems like we’re somehow related. We all moved in with one or two other people from our group.
Anyway, this Christmas, my roommate Laura decided to throw a dinner party for Christmas Eve, inviting some of her friends from work and one of the other girls from our batch. Since it’s our apartment too, my other roommate Stacy and I were free to attend, and Stacy invited some others, including Luke, a guy from our group that we hadn’t seen in a long time. For most of us, this was the first Christmas when we would be unable to visit our families, so we wanted to spend it with our little foreigner pseudo-family.
This was by no means a Martha Stewart affair, but we still put quite a bit of work into it – Stacy and I decorated and cleaned the apartment and bought fresh fish and vegetables for the dinner. Laura, despite the fact that she had to work BOTH Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, prepared a home-cooked meal for 12. Most of the people at the party wouldn’t be big drinkers, but Luke was, so we bought some beers for him.
Now, at the very last second, Luke’s roommate Andrew invited himself to the party. Andrew had always been very likable before, so we overlooked this and asked him to please bring some more alcohol to contribute to the party. Luke and Andrew arrived early, with nothing. Laura having to work that day meant that it took a while to get dinner started, and Andrew began making little comments about the party being boring. He also seemed highly impressed with himself for having learned the Chinese phrase for “suck dick”, and said it over and over.
As the night wore on, Andrew got less forgivable. We didn’t have enough alcohol, he didn’t feel drunk enough, we needed to play some good music. He went down to a local convenience store to buy more beer, and took over Stacy’s computer (which was out playing Christmas music) to go on YouTube and play us his favorite rap songs. He kept saying those two words in Chinese.
Now, as I alluded to earlier, I don’t really handle social situations as well as most people do, and a party that drags on for more than 5 hours takes a lot out of me. I was not only exhausted, but also seething at Andrew’s behavior (if he hated the party so much, why would he stay so late that he missed the last train and had to take a taxi home?). I excused myself early, to go to bed, and from what I heard, Andrew only got worse. Luke, awkward but good-natured, sent us all a text thanking us for a lovely evening.
Stacy is furious with Andrew, and wants to say something to him. Is this a thing that can be addressed, or should we just never mention it again? Can we continue to invite Luke to things while being completely clear that Andrew is not to be included? 1226-13
At some point you could have begun whispering, “Huí jia, Culu de Kèrén”, to Andrew. (“Go home, Rude Guest.”)